Forestry and agriculture together contribute close to eight per cent of GDP in Canada, but insect pests pose a continual threat. Functional genomics has long promised to bring new solutions to recurrent and new pest problems. Dr. Peter J. Krell of the University of Guelph, in collaboration with Drs. Daniel Doucet and Jeremy Allison (NRCan), is improving the surveillance and mitigation of pest management through the creation of highly sensitive surveillance and mitigation systems targeting insects using a family of insect genes known as odorant receptors (ORs).
Global soybean production is threatened by an aggressive fungus responsible for Asian Soybean Rust (ASR), which can cause yield losses of up to 80 percent. Dr. Charles Després of Brock University is combatting this destructive fungus by developing improved agrochemicals to stimulate soybean immunity as an anti-resistance strategy against soybean pathogens, thereby working to facilitate higher yields through precision agriculture.
Plant hormones determine plant growth, and breeding programs designed around hormone action have profoundly affected crop yields. With the help of Ontario Genomics’ SPARK program, Dr. McCourt and team will use synthetic biology to develop a biosensor for plant hormone activity, thereby creating a toolbox to promote the growth of agriculturally important plants.
A pan-Canadian approach to agricultural genomics can help address sector challenges in many ways. Find out how.
Genomics is helping Canada’s agri-food sector develop innovative products and processes to increase global market share.
Honey bees play a critical role in Canadian agriculture and nationally beekeepers have lost more than a quarter of their colonies each winter since 2006-07. Amro Zayed of York University and Leonard Foster of University of British Columbia are leading a project to develop tools to breed disease-resistant bees. This project will develop genomics and…
The Canadian dairy industry’s contribution of $16.2 billion to Canadian GDP can be increased by an estimated $100 million annually by improving two key traits in dairy cattle: their ability to convert feed into increased milk production; and a reduction in their methane emissions. Dr. Filippo Miglior of the University of Guelph and Dr. Paul Stothard of the University of Alberta are using genomics and the phenotyping platform developed by Growsafe to select for dairy cattle with the genetic traits needed for more efficient feed conversion and lower methane emissions.
Aquaculture companies are increasingly incorporating genomics technology into their breeding programs to develop desirable stock traits for improved growth and disease resistance. Cooke Aquaculture/Kelly Cove Salmon will partner with Dr. Elizabeth Boulding of the University of Guelph to incorporate genomics marker technology into Kelly Cove salmon’s current breeding program, to increase the quality and sales of Kelly Cove’s salmon, and improve profitability by reducing expenditures on vaccines and medication.
Tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers generate more than $1 billion in annual sales for the Canadian greenhouse vegetable industry. However, these plants are susceptible to a number of diseases which threaten crops and decrease profits for producers. Vineland Research and Innovation Centre has partnered with Dr. Keiko Yoshioka from the University of Toronto to use gene technologies to enhance disease resistance in greenhouse vegetables, and develop new commercial traits and varieties for Canada’s vegetable industry.
DNA Barcoding helping with food traceability BIO and University of Guelph that is developing a set of genetic markers that can be used to monitor a marker-assisted selection breeding program to produce pigs that are free of boar taint.